The Benefits of Choosing an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® Designee


The Benefits of Choosing an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® Designee

Center for Fiduciary Studies

While the Practices are available to all advisors, only those who have earned the AIF® Designation are formally recognized by the Center for demonstrating a full understanding of how to implement those processes to help institutional clients fulfill their fiduciary obligations. AIF® Designees are able to:

  • Evaluate your organization’s current fiduciary practices and recommend actions that address risk areas and help ensure compliance with applicable state and federal law
  • Create and maintain a comprehensive investment policy statement that documents all of the processes and procedures that will be used to manage your portfolio
  • Analyze and optimize your portfolio’s asset allocation strategy to better align with the plan or fund’s specific investment objective or the demographic needs of plan participants
  • Apply objective standards for evaluating and recommending appropriate investment options for your portfolio
  • Monitor and report performance of your portfolio and its underlying investments on an ongoing basis and recommending changes when necessary
  • Serve as a resource for education and assistance to help you understand and fulfill your fiduciary obligations with greater confidence

In addition to providing fiduciary guidance and assistance, many AIF® Designees also take on the fiduciary responsibilities for managing assets in a retirement plan or endowment. That removes the burden of day-to-day oversight of those assets from your shoulders.

To maintain the designation, all AIF® Designees must complete continuing education training to keep up to date with changes in the industry and the ongoing evolution of legal requirements under the fiduciary standard. They also must recognize and formally affirm the principles and obligations stated in the Designee Code of Ethics,which govern their professional and ethical conduct.

What resources are available to designess?

To help AIF® Designees serve their clients in conformance with the Practices, fi360 places a variety of educational and practice management tools at their fingertips:

  • Self-Assessment of Fiduciary Excellence (SAFE): A questionnaire for Designees to evaluate the fiduciary processes of their investment steward clients. Many Designees also use the SAFE as a means of analyzing and improving their own fiduciary practices.
  • Consultant’s Review of Fiduciary Practices (CRFP): A working document that allows Designees to review the fiduciary processes of investment companies, retirement plan providers, banks, and trust companies and assist with correcting any deficiencies.
  • fi360 Toolkit for Advisors: A sophisticated suite of online portfolio management tools that help advisors develop and optimize asset allocation and portfolio construction strategies and conduct extensive research on thousands of mutual and exchange-traded funds and separate account strategies.
  • Standardized documents: Templates for creating personalized investment policy statements, client reports, contracts, and other essential documents.
  • Continuing education: Industry updates using analysis delivered by fi360’s team of fiduciary experts, as well as other industry thought leaders.

How can I conduct my own due diligence on an advisor I'm considering?

You can conduct a background check on any advisor using the resources on the Securities and Exchange Commission website at You also can search for AIF® Designees at

Regardless of their credentials on paper, when evaluating an advisor, it’s important to apply the same level of thoroughness and care you’d use in evaluating a physician, attorney or building contractor. It’s up to you to examine their qualifications and credentials, identify any past or pending legal violations, solicit feedback from other clients, and fully understand the advisor’s service model and fee structure. While an advisor may appear to be committed to acting in your organization’s interests, making sure that person is fully qualified to do so is your own fiduciary responsibility.

Five questions you should ask any advisor

Some advisors always operate in a fiduciary capacity, others only act as a fiduciary for certain specified services, and yet others are not permitted by their company to take on the obligations of a fiduciary at any time. In order to better understand the standard of care your advisor is providing you, ask the following questions:

  1. Will you put my best interests above all others?
  2. Will you act with prudence; that is, with the skill, care, diligence and good judgment of a professional?
  3. Will you provide conspicuous, full and fair disclosure of all important facts?
  4. Will you avoid confl icts of interest whenever possible?
  5. Will you fully disclose and fairly manage, in my favor, unavoidable conflicts?

An advisor should be able to provide clear and concise answers to all of those questions and be willing to disclose that information in writing. In addition, any AIF® Designee should be able to describe how their relationship with you will operate and list the resources and tools that are incorporated into their business practices.

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Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.